Samaritan Inns

Samaritan Inns

A week ago I completed my second civic engagement project at Samaritan Inns. Samaritan Inns is a program that houses those recovering from addiction for a thirty-day period and attempts to get them back on their feet through providing them with support and a strict routine. We were told that we were going to be making the residents dinner, so we went to the grocery store near NoMa, which was a very short walk away, and bought the ingredients. We had a group of one boy and four girls. We decided to make chicken, scalloped potatoes, a salad and a fruit salad. I'm not very good in the kitchen so I was very happy that the three other girls seemed to know what they were doing. I was very impressed with my friend Marjorie, who is from Brazil. She cooked the chicken and taught me how to peel carrots. All the food turned out delicious and the residents were very appreciative. I normally hate being in the kitchen, but I didn't mind cooking this meal with my new friends -- we had a lot of fun.

Before we went out to serve the dinner, a former resident of Samaritan Inns talked to us about the program. She is now engaged, sober, and running this portion of the program. She explained the ins-and-outs of the program as well as the do's and don'ts. For instance, the residents may share their life stories with the volunteers, and it's important that the volunteers don't try and offer the residents any advice -- they are simply there to listen.

We laid out the dinner buffet style and then we stood in a circle, held hands and recited the serenity prayer. That's the one that begins with "God, give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I cannot accept, and the wisdom to know the difference."  It was a very moving experience. Afterwards we ate dinner. All of the residents were friendly and nice and just happy to talk to us. I sat at a table with three other men, all recovering from addiction. It was right after the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case was announced, so we discussed that -- they don't have much access to the news, so a lot of their information is delayed. They were asking me what the public reaction to the verdict was. We also discussed my academic interests. After dinner was over they thanked us profusely and the residents went to clean up.

I really enjoyed this project and the group I went with meshed well. As we were walking back to the Metro we talked about this project. We were comparing it to our project at SOME, which if you remember from a few blogs ago, was the one where we went to serve food early in the morning. It kind of feels weird to compare community service projects. Both projects are really important and worthwhile things to do but there is no denying that Samaritan Inns was much more rewarding because we were much more engaged with the people we were helping.

After civic engagement I went over to my friend's house, did some homework for class, and fell asleep. All in all it only took about four hours, to create an entire dinner, and a very memorable experience.

The civic engagement portion of TWC's programs has been so meaningful to me. It has changed my outlook on so many things. I think as a result of civic engagement I am kinder and more patient, not just with homeless people, but with people in general.

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More